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Bowyer gears up for 'best opportunity' with Stewart-Haas
RELATED: First look at paint schemes of 2017 CONCORD, N.C. -- There's been plenty for Clint Bowyer to adjust to in the brief time that he's officially been a member of Stewart-Haas Racing 's driver roster. He's had to acclimate himself to the way that his new team operates. He's also had to become more familiar with the personnel on the No. 14 Ford that Bowyer will drive in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in 2017. A helpful hand from his new crew chief, Mike Bugarewicz, has helped Bowyer adjust to both of those new concepts. When Bowyer half-jokingly asked Bugarewicz if he had a team roster to keep him from addressing his crewmembers with, "Hey, buddy," or similar salutations, the second-year crew chief unexpectedly delivered. "He's such a dedicated person and so prepared, he literally went and took pictures of all the guys and e-mailed me the names of them," Bowyer said Wednesday during a preseason media event at the sprawling Ford Performance Technical Center. "I'm like, 'Man, you didn't have to do that. I could've come down.' " At which point Tony Stewart , his team owner and predecessor in the No. 14, interjected: "He says he didn't need that. He needed that, trust me." Laughing aside, Bowyer continued to underscore his point. "That's the level of dedication that you have at Stewart-Haas," Bowyer said. "And it doesn't just end with Mike, it's all across the board. If you ask for something … you've got to be careful asking for something because it's just done." RELATED: Harvick bullish on changes " Transition to Ford among top story lines The next adjustment that Bowyer may have to make is getting accustomed to relevance, something in short supply even before he was announced Sept. 30, 2015 as the successor to three-time series champion Stewart for the organization's flagship team. Bowyer drove in relative obscurity for Michael Waltrip Racing in its waning days, then languished through a throwaway season in 2016 with the former HScott Motorsports operation as he waited his turn to join SHR. "If he could've clicked his heels three times and made it 2017, he'd have done it in a heartbeat," Stewart said. "But we were all just reminding him: 'Be patient. You've got a lot to look forward to.' And we were hoping that his season would turn around at some point, too, but it didn't work out that way and it wasn't for a lack of effort on their side. "I think the nice thing, though, is -- as odd as this sounds -- I've seen him a lot calmer than I saw him all last year. I don't know that he's ever calm, but you can tell he's excited about what's coming up. He's genuinely excited about getting in the 14 car and that makes us happy, too." RELATED: Stewart at ease in new role at SHR Bowyer's authentic anticipation is attached to what he calls "the best opportunity I've ever had." Not only does the 37-year-old driver now have an avenue to potentially return to Victory Lane for the first time in more than four seasons, he also has the chance to place his name back among the sport's top tier. Bowyer has always been known as one of the most animated and energetic figures in the NASCAR garage. But performance -- or a lack of it, in the case of Bowyer's most recent body of work -- has a way of shuffling even the most engaging figures to the shadows. Bowyer's return to a high-profile ride likely changes both the prevailing perceptions and his exposure level, but the results will need to follow suit. "Here's what I hope -- I sure hope you're watching me," Bowyer said. "At the end of the day, relevancy in this sport is everything and I've lost that a little bit. Not a little bit, a lot. And I felt it and didn't like it. It's up to me to go out and become relevant again, have you watch me and talking about me. "It makes everything better. This is a business. This is racing, but once you race at this level, it becomes a business and it trickles down to everything in your life. We're race car drivers but we do this for a business. From my dirt program, everything, my (car) dealership, it just really trickles down. Every business thing that's happened really feeds off of your success on that race track. I had a bad year and I want to become relevant again. You don't work as hard and you have a hell of a lot more fun." RELATED: Key moments in SHR history Before he embarks on that goal, Bowyer has had fun getting better acquainted with his new surroundings, no doubt aided by Bugarewicz's handy chart. But the jollity has also extended to enjoying the luxuries of championship-level equipment for a change. Bowyer marveled at the comfort and quality of his new carbon-fiber seat, remarking "I feel rich" with regards to the perfectly tailored fit. And in a further illustration of Stewart-Haas' attention to precise details, Bowyer was asked last weekend about his preference for a gearshift handle. When the newest SHR driver reacted with indifference in saying that any handle would do, he was presented with eight possible choices. "I think we have dialed in the right gearshift handle for myself and my success this year," Bowyer said with a wry smile. "If not, we have plenty of extras to go around." &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Expectations for Bowyer ’s first year at SHR
Clint Bowyer and his new team owner Tony Stewart talk about their expectations for the No. 14 Ford in 2017.
First look: See Bowyer in No. 14 Mobil 1 fire suit
MORE: New looks for 2017 Seeing someone other than Tony Stewart in the No. 14 next year is going to look weird for a while. The Stewart-Haas Racing Twitter account is helping preparations by giving us a glimpse of the future. 'Smoke' has driven that number since 2009, when he left Joe Gibbs Racing and the No. 20 to co-found Stewart-Haas Racing . Now that he has retired from full-time competition, Clint Bowyer will pilot the No. 14 Ford in 2017. Wonder what he looks like in a Mobil 1 fire suit? Wonder no more -- just see below. First look at @ClintBowyer in his @Mobil1 uniform. We give it a big . Glad to have you onboard, Clint! #shrFORDward pic.twitter.com/cTZs5Mgeln — Stewart-Haas Racing (@StewartHaasRcng) January 8, 2017 &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Bowyer , wife Lorra welcome baby girl Presley
NASCAR driver Clint Bowyer and his wife, Lorra, welcomed their second child into the world, keeping a musical theme in their choice of baby names. Bowyer tweeted Friday the arrival of daughter Presley Elizabeth, indicating that "everyone is good" after the delivery. Oh boy am I in trouble now!! World...meet baby girl Presley Elizabeth. Everyone is good! pic.twitter.com/qmeRE397Wm — Clint Bowyer (@ClintBowyer) December 9, 2016 The selection of Presley -- spelled identically to the last name of rock 'n' roll icon Elvis Presley -- pairs nicely with the handle given to Bowyers' son, named Cash Aaron and born Oct. 1, 2014. That calling card happens to pluck Johnny Cash's last name with Elvis Presley's middle name. The 37-year-old driver had announced that the couple was expecting back in June, jokingly lamenting that he was about to lose "our grasp on male dominance w/in the Bowyer household." Bowyer wrapped up his lone season with HScott Motorsports in 2016. He'll drive the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 14 Chevrolet next season, succeeding the retiring Tony Stewart .
Harvick bullish on SHR changes with Ford, Bowyer
The offseason gears of change are still churning at Stewart-Haas Racing with the customary preparations before the new season dawns. But the early plans for SHR this year go far beyond paint schemes and subtle aerodynamic tweaks, and even former NASCAR premier series champion Kevin Harvick has the mildest reservations about how smooth a transition it might be. Harvick addressed Stewart-Haas Racing 's switch from Chevrolet to Ford for 2017 on Thursday after a holiday shopping spree at Ollie's Bargain Outlet in Matthews, North Carolina to help families displaced by fire. Harvick's foundation partnered with the Charlotte Fire Department to host the charitable event for the second straight year. While that relationship continues, Harvick's long-running association with Chevy will end next season when he pilots SHR's No. 4 Ford for the first time. The organization's behind-the-scenes work to bring its four-car fleet under the blue oval banner has been extraordinary, and Harvick says he's cautiously optimistic that the overhaul will go over largely without a hitch. "I think we'd be crazy to think there's not going to be some bumps in the road just because there's a lot of things that are changing," Harvick said. "But I think with the amount of people that we have to go through the transition and do the things that we need to do, I couldn't ask for a better group of people. It's a bunch of racers, and I think it's going to be a long winter, but with a group of racers like we have, we should hopefully fire off where we have been." RELATED: Where do Harvick and Childers rank in driver-crew chief pairings? The move, announced in February, means that Stewart-Haas Racing will no longer rely on an alliance with Hendrick Motorsports for chassis and engines. SHR will have its own in-house chassis developed for the 2017 season plus power from Roush Yates Engines. "I'm sure that the big parts and pieces will have already had a plan to be adjusted right and we have a plan to work toward that," Harvick said, "but I think it'll be all the knickknack stuff that you don't expect that you'll probably have to spend the most time worrying about and coming up with a spur-of-the-moment plan. I think everybody's got a great frame of mind at Stewart-Haas Racing because for us, it's a huge opportunity to kind of step out of that box." RELATED: SHR moving to Ford in 2017 The manufacturer swap isn't the only significant change coming to Stewart-Haas Racing next season. Clint Bowyer will step into the organization's flagship No. 14 as the replacement for team co-owner Tony Stewart , who retired from full-time competition at the end of 2016. The addition to the driver lineup will mark a reunion for both Bowyer and Harvick, who were teammates in the sport’s top series at Richard Childress Racing from 2006-11. "I'm really excited about Clint just because I've known Clint since the first time that he sat in a car at RCR, I was there with him," Harvick said. "So I know a lot about Clint. Clint and I are really good friends, and he is cut from that same Stewart-Haas racer mold that everybody there is pretty much cut by." RELATED: Bowyer eager for move to SHR As for Stewart, Harvick said, there's been little slowing down as he steps away from full-time racing in NASCAR. "You know, I asked Tony, I said, 'So what're you going to do to relax?' " Harvick said. "He's like, 'Relax? I've got to go to this dirt race and that dirt race,' and I'm like, 'I thought the whole point of retirement was to take some time off and unwind,' but apparently it means going to dirt races and sitting on the tractor and plowing up the dirt and making sure it's good for the racers. Sounds like he's going to be a track operator, a promoter, and all the things in between this winter." &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Bowyer back at home track, eagerly awaits move to SHR
MORE: Bowyer brings fan to tears with surprise " SHR to switch to Ford in '17 KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- The emails are already starting to hit his inbox. " Clint Bowyer , No. 14 Ford driver, Stewart-Haas Racing ," the mocked-up, soon-to-be-sold merchandise reads. With six remaining races in the 2016 Sprint Cup Series season -- the one in which Bowyer drives the No. 15 HScott Motorsports Chevrolet -- it's hard for the veteran not to look ahead to next year, when he'll replace the retiring Tony Stewart . "Certainly, it's always natural to start thinking about next year. You better be this time of year no matter if you are moving or staying the same and nothing changes," Bowyer said Friday at Kansas Speedway , site of Sunday's Hollywood Casino 400 (2:15 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). "That is how far in advance you have to look in this sport and work. All the organizations are lining themselves up and gearing up for next year, all the while, there is a lot of racing left to do in 2016." It's a trying request for Bowyer not to start licking his chops thinking about his soon-to-be ride when he's struggled with an ill-performing car most of the season and has a mere three top-10 finishes, by far a career low. ANALYSIS: Bowyer , HScott playing catch up It doesn't help to stem the anticipation any when he sees his future teammates battling for wins and titles. Last weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway is a prime example, according to the 37-year-old Emporia, Kansas native. "I look over and I see all the Stewart-Haas cars up front, qualified well, Danica (Patrick) was fast, all the cars raced well," he said. "Those are the things that you look at and get excited for next year. But, hey, you've got an opportunity to come back home and race and compete in front of your hometown crowd. Like I said, there is plenty of racing to do and things to accomplish this year. We've got to cap it off well and start to get focused on next year. "It is exciting. … An email came across my phone and I look over and its No. 14 merchandise approvals for next year. You are like 'holy cow,' it's becoming reality. It's fixing to pick up in a big way." There's basically nowhere to go but up in his impending season with SHR, as a tumultuous 2013 campaign with Michael Waltrip Racing set his career on the path of a winless downward spiral in which his performance declined from every measurable aspect -- a year after finishing runner-up to Brad Keselowski for the Sprint Cup Series title. Last year’s announcement that he’d replace the three-time champion Stewart at season’s end was the first good news he’d had to share publicly since the birth of his son, Cash. RELATED: Baby No. 2 on the way for Bowyer Apart from the increase in performance he can expect from an organization that took home the 2014 title with driver Kevin Harvick , that has five wins this season and put three drivers in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup , SHR offers Bowyer a welcoming environment in which he's already comfortable with their top-tiered talent, many of which are longtime friends of his. "Just a great outfit over there, everybody from the top to the bottom; the teammates, I've worked with Kevin (Harvick) for many years. I'm looking forward to Kurt (Busch). Kurt is the one that I've never really known a lot about. Always raced against him, but never worked with him in any way, shape or form. Danica, I'm closer to her than probably some of the others, so I'm just looking forward to it. It's going to be a lot of fun. It's going to be a neat atmosphere and something that 10 years into this thing one of the best opportunities ever is at your doorstep and fixing to happen. " … Just looking forward to being in a situation where you can go out and know that if the equipment is there that you will have a good weekend. That is all you can ask for as a race car driver.” While it's likely that Bowyer will have to wait until next year to finally win a Sprint Cup race at his home track, he knows that there were valuable lessons he'll take away from a frustrating season. "I think I've learned a lot from the racing on the race track and I’ve learned a lot about myself (this year)," he said. "This isn't easy and I think hopefully we can get back in (the media center) and there are going to be these seats filled again. "And I've got a beer in my hand because the trophy is sitting right there, right? That is what we do this for." &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Stewart at ease with new role at SHR, in NASCAR
RELATED: SHR, Ford expect fast start " Stewart's 2016 year in review CONCORD, N.C. -- Tony Stewart remembers standing on the floor of the Stewart-Haas Racing shop in mid-December. All around him, across the shop floor, were race car chassis. No body, no paint, no decals -- Just skeletons of race cars-to-be. It's part of a long process for Stewart-Haas Racing , as the team transitions from Chevrolet to Ford for the 2017 NASCAR season. "This has been a really, really tough offseason for these guys," Stewart said Wednesday at the Ford Performance Center. "…To think how far these guys have come in such a short amount of time, I mean, I'm really proud (of them). Especially the fab shop -- Those guys really deserve a big pat on the back because it has been a huge undertaking to get so many cars ready in such a short amount of time. "And when I say they're getting them ready, they didn't throw them together; the same level of quality that they always do. I'm really proud of what they've produced so far." His team isn't the only one making a huge transition this season; Stewart begins the new year as a freshly retired Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver, having raced his final season in 2016. This marks the first season in 18 years where Stewart won't be prepping for a season in NASCAR's premier series. RELATED: Rock star surprises Stewart in Las Vegas Does he miss it? "It will be nice to be at the track and not be sore and not be uncomfortable sitting on the pit box," said Stewart, who battled back from a severe back injury at the start of his final season. "I'll actually be able to really focus on what's going on and … move around and listen to each car and what they're fighting during the day and hopefully being able to have some input that can help." But "Smoke" fans, never fear: Stewart will still be at the race track. The three-time champion NASCAR driver plans on racing nearly 80 late model, sprint cars and three-quarter midget races this season, along with managing his race team, co-owned with Gene Haas. Stewart expects to attend nearly all the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup races in 2017, where he’ll be able to offer guidance to the teams of Kevin Harvick , Kurt Busch , Danica Patrick and Clint Bowyer , the new driver of the No. 14 ride. RELATED: Top moments in SHR history Wearing a large smile on Wednesday, Bowyer ’s high spirits conveyed his excitement about racing the No. 14 car -- and his new team owner. "To be honest with you, it's been a breath of fresh air," Bowyer said on having Stewart as his car owner. "I didn't know what he was like as an owner, I only knew what he was like as a person hanging out and things like that. "But man, I'm telling you, at the shop at the Christmas party this year -- he showed up as Santa Claus, by the way, and the outfit fit him perfect -- but Santa Claus interacted and made everyone feel at home. Those are his people and he treated them as his people and it showed me, you could just see how much they embraced that and enjoyed that interaction with him and what it meant to them." The NASCAR world has known that Bowyer was next in line for the No. 14 crown since the end of Sepember 2015. But that reality seemed to sink in when Bowyer's name glistened above the door of the new No. 14 Ford today -- No more "Smoke." Tony's OK with that. "It's not that weird, honestly," Stewart said. " … I'm proud to see his name above the door and proud to see what he can do. The part that's been shocking is going back to my sprint car shop and seeing them put my name on cars this week because they're decaling our cars for the season. I haven't been used to that for a couple years now, so I'm excited about both sides of it." It's a ground of familiarity for Stewart, whose background is rooted in dirt track racing. But as he hasn’t driven a sprint car in two and a half years, the 45-year-old isn't sure what to expect of his results on track this season. Dare he say he's like a rookie again? "I know it sounds like I'm a rookie driver, but I kind of feel like one," Stewart said. "(My schedule) depends on how I'm progressing really … I think there's going to be some races that we are going to announce coming up pretty soon that are races that I've been looking forward to going to that I've not had a chance to run before. So there's a bunch of tracks and a bunch of events that I've not raced at before that I'm going to finally get to go to." RELATED: SHR transition among key story lines to watch for in '17 Where the long-term future holds for Stewart the driver is yet to be seen, as he jokes that he's thrown a curveball in probably every offseason since joining forces with Haas. But right now, it's about his team. "I'm going straight to the shop from here," Stewart said. "I'm excited to see how much is done versus the last time I was there. Everybody says we have a long way to go, but we've come a long way. I think I'm going to be very pleasantly surprised when I get there." &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Bowyer's Darlington scheme honors Benny Parsons
RELATED: All the 2016 throwback paint schemes " Buy tickets " Vote now HScott Motorsports unveiled the throwback paint schemes that Clint Bowyer (No. 15 Chevrolet) and Michael Annett (No. 46 Chevrolet) will sport at Darlington Raceway for next week's Bojangles' Southern 500 (Sept. 4, 6 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Bowyer's car honors 2017 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Benny Parsons. The paint scheme sponsored by 5-hour Energy features Parsons' name just below the net opening and photos of the racer on the hood. The scheme itself is a tribute to the L.G. DeWitt deep-orange with blue wheels ride from Parsons' championship season of 1973. Parsons compiled 21 premier series wins over a 21-year career. Parsons was named one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers in 1998. Parsons also transitioned into television work following his NASCAR career, commentating for NBC and TNT until his passing in 2007, at the age of 65. Here it is! @ClintBowyer 's @5hourenergy throwback scheme for @TooToughToTame honoring Benny Parsons! #NASCAR pic.twitter.com/xDa9ugeiD9 — HScott Motorsports (@Team_HSM) August 27, 2016 Annett's car pays tribute to the logos of sponsor Pilot Flying J. Michael's No. 46 Chevrolet is throwing back to the 1970’s era @PilotFlyingJ logos and livery @TooToughToTame . pic.twitter.com/0wuBLJQVO8 — Michael Annett (@MichaelAnnett) August 26, 2016 &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Postponed race forces Bowyer to worst possible place
With the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race postponed from Saturday to Sunday, drivers had a full day on their hands. That wasn't necessarily a good thing. Just check out Clint Bowyer 's Twitter feed. Clint ended up at perhaps the most despised "husband place" in existence. You think a rain out pisses you off?!? This is what has become of my day. #dadduty pic.twitter.com/Y9eKts5LgZ — Clint Bowyer (@ClintBowyer) October 8, 2016 Pretty nice little Saturday, Clint! What's next ... a trip to Home Depot?
Bowyer brings fan to tears with surprise gesture
It's Fan Appreciation Weekend at Richmond International Raceway , and Clint Bowyer is doing his part. The driver of the No. 15 HScott Motorsports Chevrolet surprised a fan, who is a cancer survivor, with two hot passes, which will provide her and a guest incredible access during Saturday's Federated Auto Parts 400 (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). The act of kindness brought her to tears. . @ClintBowyer says #ThanksFans by surprising two lucky fans with hot passes! pic.twitter.com/golQ1MCYlW — NASCAR (@NASCAR) September 10, 2016 Way to go, Clint.